Social Technovation: Meet the Panelists
By: Sara Innamorato
Social Technovation 412 is just two days away! (have you picked up your tickets yet?!?) We’ve hand selected the panelist based on their experience bridging the gap between technology, innovation and social cause. To give you a sneak peek, we asked our panelists to answer a few questions.
Q: How do you use technology in your company?
Josh Lucas, Crowdasaurus and The Hardware Store, Founded 2011
Crowdasaurus supports regional crowdfunding ecosystems by providing custom built crowdfunding web-platforms, offering consulting, and marketing support. We use a wide variety of technology including Ruby on Rails, PHP, Java, Word Press, Twitter Bootstrap, Google for business, and many design and media software packages.
The Hardware Store is shared office space where digital freelance professionals gather, work, and share resources. The Hardware Store connects and organizes on-site talent to solve big problems in the digital service industry. The self-assembled team of software developers, designers, videographers, animators, and marketing experts satisfy the digital needs of clients ranging from small business to enterprise level. Our facilities include green screens, podcasting suites, and voice-over booths to provide a core set of tools to our occupants and customers. In addition, we offer these resources freely to the community of regional startups and nonprofits to encourage their growth and expand our network of talent.
Lacy Caric, Evive Station, LLC, Founded 2011
Evive provides consumers the ability to clean and refill their reusable Evive bottle on the go. Evive currently serves: Universities, Businesses, Offices and Health Clubs/Fitness Centers.
Evive Station is centered around technology. Our custom Station was designed in Pittsburgh by Daedalus. Evive Station runs on custom software, developed internally. Our head of software engineering, Steve Jacobs is a genius. He has created the platform Evive users interact with on a daily basis and constantly strives to improve the Evive member experience.
Tracey Certo, NEXTpittsburgh, Founded January 2014
Next Pittsburgh is an online publication about the innovative things going on in Pittsburgh. Aside from the technical and online nature of the website and content loading, we also use social media with great frequency.
Evaine K. Sing, GTECH Strategies, Founded 2007
GTECH Strategies is a nonprofit social enterprise that helps communities turn wasted resources such as vacant land into community assets. We are currently using a system called, Local Data, which is helping us collect and create a standard for the way vacant land is assessed in Pittsburgh. This technology is helping bring together different groups of data collectors in the City, employ community residents and start conversations with residents about what’s next for their neighborhood.
Q: What is the element of social good that your company provides? Why did you choose to incorporate that element?
Josh: Both Crowdasaurus and The Hardware Store seek to increase the chances of success for entrepreneurs and innovators by providing alternative funding models and the opportunity to share critical resources. We know the status-quo and traditional economy is unsustainable. By helping local companies and nonprofits, we hope to play a small part in a ground swell that reimagines our regional economy and offers more opportunity to different kinds of people.
Lacy: Evive strives to teach consumers the importance of reducing and reusing. American’s alone contribute to an annual dump of 38 billion bottles to landfills, streams, oceans and the general landscape. By using your Evive bottle, you are able to directly see the impact of bottles you keep out of this statistic each time you use a Station. Evive is also a health conscious company. By cleaning your bottle once a day, you reduce the amount of germs and bacteria spread. In addition, Evive members generally drink more water, which contributes to an overall healthy lifestyle. These benefits add up to make us more socially responsible people and more cognizant of what we contribute to the environment around us.
Tracey: We focus on the people driving change in our region, who are really making a difference for the good. We report on them and in the process hope to elevate awareness of the good things happening and inspire readers to be more engaged with our city.
Through events such as Living the Artist’s Life, we showcase successful creative people and how they got where they are today. So the talented up and coming artists can get the opportunity to meet these artists and get motivated to find their own successful path here. We encourage readers to get to know their city in a different way and to realize how they can help shape the future of Pittsburgh.
Evaine: At our core, we connect people to opportunities and resources, as well as empower them to make a change in places important to them. Using a technology like Local Data makes it easier to connect residents and policymakers alike to necessary pieces of data that aren’t always readily available. Systems like LocalData allow changemakers to make real-time decisions which help support and encourage the crafting of relevant community plans to address current needs of a community.
Q: Why Pittsburgh?
Josh: It’s full of bold and unwavering dreamers.
Lacy: Pittsburgh has developed into an inspiring city for tech startups. Being a part of Evive Station has opened my eyes to many companies started in Pittsburgh with a technology focus. Whether the business is B2B or consumer driven there this is a market where both can thrive. The support from leaders in business like, Bill Flanagan of The Allegheny Conference, Marcie Eberhart and Helga Ying of American Eagle Outfitters has been tremendously helpful in the success of Evive. I am not sure we would find that in a larger market outside Pittsburgh.
Tracey: This is where we live. That is what we love. We are Pittsburgh-born, Pittsburgh-bred. It’s our sole focus.
Evaine: Pittsburgh has over 27,000 parcels of vacant land, which is about 19% of the total land mass. “Vacant land” by definition is any parcel that has no building or is not already classified as a City approved piece of open space (such as parks, cemeteries or greenways). But not all vacant parcels are created equal and some have already found higher and better uses, our goal is to find those that are in need of a plan or just a little care. We want to play a small role is creating the best Pittsburgh possible.
Q: What is your favorite burrito filling?
Josh: Guacamole, because the avocado is amazing and may have mystical powers.
Lacy: Guac + lots of Tapatio hot sauce!
Evaine: I’m actually not a huge fan of burritos…